5. Calhoun at Ridgeland (Aug. 30)
Ridgeland both ended their seasons in disappointing fashion. Calhoun a year after beating Buford for the championship once again lost a title game. Calhoun fell 31-14 to
Jefferson, and Ridgeland lost to
45-10 in the Class AAAA finals. In 2012 Calhoun beat Ridgeland 42-35 in the opener, which was its closest game of the season before the playoffs. Ridgleand comes into the season without 5,000 yards of rushing offense.
Darrell Bridges and
Vonn Bell were the two headliners and also bulldozed and scampered their way to 61 touchdowns in 2012. Bridges who is at Presbyterian College rushed for nearly 2,400 yards and Vonn Bell accounted for over 1,100. Bell is at Ohio State this year. The 800 yards returning in the backfield come from
who will star in the Panthers running attack this upcoming season.
"I think Noah is capable of having a big year numbers wise," said head coach
"He's a hard runner and one of his biggest assets is his balance and vision. He's gonna be that guy everyone looks to because he is the only skill player we have returning this year."
This game will be the ultimate measuring stick for two teams looking to bounce back from runner-up heartbreakers last year.
4. Colquitt County vs. Grayson GEORGIA DOME (Aug. 24)
I know this is the third game from the Corky Kell Classic in the top 10, but when it comes to opening week, these games rarely disappoint.
Grayson will enter the post-
Robert Nkemdiche era and will enter 2013 without a senior recruit listed in Georgia's top 150 players. Grayson's defense managed to allow just 10 points per game in a loaded schedule, and will face a seasoned
Colquitt County team that has the knack for showing up in big games. Packers head coach
Rush Propst was stunned last season in the Dome against
North Gwinnett 16-14 and lost in the playoffs 41-27 to
. If you do not think South Georgia teams get excited to play Gwinnett schools then think again. Grayson and Colquitt County should definitely be a slug fest.
3. Gainesville at West Forsyth (Aug. 30)
When it comes to defense, these two teams do not shine. Offensively however, they were the two most explosive teams in the state a year ago.
West Forsyth broke the 60 point mark three times and scored 56 another time. In the playoffs they beat
Collins Hill 66-41 in the opening round. In the second round
, who had one of the better defenses in the state beat them 26-23 in overtime. The Wolverines opened up 2012 with a big win over
Gainesville 32-30 and will look to do the same this year. Gainesville is paced by Clemson commit
who quarterbacked the Red Elephants to the Class AAAAA State Championship in 2012. Gainesville averaged 45.0 points per game last season and the senior quarterback has the weapons to match it in 2013. If you like shootouts then this is your game.
2. ELCA at Washington County (Aug. 23)
ELCA played a near flawless 2012 with the exception of one game. The Chargers lost their season opener 24-19 to Class-AAA powerhouse
Washington County. Even with the loss, the Chargers averaged 44 points per game on the season offensively, and gave up only seven. With their defensive starters on the field they allowed only three points per contest. They beat
Prince Avenue Christian
33-0 in the Class-A state championsip. The only thing left for ELCA would be upsetting one of the better programs in the state. The running attack returns and so does the Chargers starting quarterback.
ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess said, "The power run game is who we are and what we do. We have a great offensive line and running backs along with an outstanding fullback in Josh Shockley. Our offensive linemen are big and powerful guys and that's where the power run originates."
Dalton Etheridge started under center and operated one of the state's most prolific offenses a year ago. Etheridge has 6-foot-3, 200-pound Jamal Tookes headlining his exterior targets.
Notre Dame signee Isaac Rochell starred as two-way weapon at defensive end and tight end in 2012, but will have one of the most talented prospects in the state replacing him. Andrew Williams stands 6-foot-4, 231 pounds and is listed by 247sports as a top 20 recruit in the state. It will be Williams time to shine this year.
Washington County was knocked out of the 2012 playoffs by Clas AAA state runner up St. Pius X 40-35. The 40 points were the most they allowed all season, and it was a disappointing finish for head coach Joel Ingram. Coming into 2013 the Golden Hawks appear as serious contenders and will face an experienced Chargers offense.
1. Washington, FL at Norcross (Aug. 24)
Norcross finished 2012 with a Class AAAAAA Championship and a 15-0 record. Out of the 22 starters they return 16 of them. One of the key players lost was quarterback
Joseph Wilber (West Georgia), but they replaced him with
AJ Bush. On defense is
Lorenzo Carter who will likely be the sure top recruit in the country this season.
returns as the Blue Devils explosive playmaker, and their offense looks ready in 2013. Norcross won its first two 7 on 7 tournaments this summer, and their defense looks to be one of the fastest in the state.
When they have the pads bucked up we will see that their speed and ball skills is matched with their strength and power. They are a preseason No. 3 team in the nation and this game will be on ESPN. In 2012 it was
Miami Central, FL coming to
that was the big Georgia vs. Florida matchup. Miami Central is one of the best schools in the state of Florida. The physicality of a Gwinnett County football team was no match for Florida's spread and speed attack and Grayson embarrassed them 35-3.
Washington, FL no doubt will know they are going up against Goliath, but they have a loaded roster of returning talent ready. They won their state championship last year 35-7 over
Bolles, FL and are in the top 25 in the nation heading into 2013.
Nigel Bethel is a cornerback with offers from Miami, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas Tech.
Treon Harris is a dual threat quarterback who holds offers from FSU, Arizona, Boston College, Clemson and FIU. Harris will be a three-year starter this season.
is a blazing fast wideout with offers from West Virginia, Boston College, Cincinnati, FIU and Florida State.
The matchup with these teams will be Norcross' defense and size versus a Florida powerhouse. Norcross' three wideouts over 6-foot-4 will face a solid secondary.